In winters Helsinki is a hub of outdoor activities. You’ve probably seen films where people in earmuffs skate around in the heart of the city. Helsinki too has world-class skating rinks in the city centre. A long-time favourite among locals is the Brahe Sports Field (Brahenkenttä, Helsinginkatu 25) in Kallio district. In addition you will find a number of other skating rinks in Helsinki. In the winter season 2021-2022 public ice rinks in the city are free of charge.
So long as it’s a good winter and there’s lots of snow, Helsinki can offer around 200 kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails. Many of these are in Central Park (Keskuspuisto) and are accessible from Laakso (Nordenskiöldinpolku) close to the city centre. The network of trails extends northwards to Tali, Paloheinä and Veräjälaakso. The most popular cross-country ski centre in Helsinki is Paloheinä (Pakilantie 124), where the trails are maintained the longest. For the best scenery, try the trails around the Old Town Bay (Vanhankaupunginlahti). You can check the condition and lengths of the skiing tracks through the Outdoor exercise map service.
The more snow there is in the forests, the more fun it is to hike through them wearing snowshoes. You can cross even the thickest snow in snowshoes, and the snow is not only beautiful, it also absorbs the sounds of the city. The best places to try snowshoe hiking are the Central Park (Keskuspuisto), the forests in Vuosaari and the forests extending from Östersundom to Sipoonkorpi. If there isn’t enough snow, you can always try fatbiking! You can rent snowshoes and fatbikes at the Paloheinä recreational area.
If one winter activity stands above all the rest, it has to be sledding. The only “official” sledding hill in Helsinki is at Paloheinä (Pakilantie 122), but of course you can find plenty of other popular sledding places. The best hills near the city centre can be found in Kaivopuisto Park, where you can enjoy lovely views to the sea, and Kaisaniemi Park behind the Central Railway Station. For the most exciting gradients, try the Malminkartano landfill hill (Naapuripellontie 12)!
If Esplanade Park is at its most beautiful in summertime, when it is cloaked in snow on a winter’s evening it is like from another world. The beautifully lit trees, statues and white snow create an experience that really can take your breath away. So if you want to make an impression with an unforgettable evening walk in wintertime, look no further than Esplanade Park in the heart of Helsinki.